Jon Rahm fired a final-round 5-under 67 at Centro Nacional de Golf to capture the Open de España by two shots over Paul Dunne.
Starting the day one back of countryman Nacho Elvira, and two behind Dunne, the 23-year old Spaniard carded back-to-back birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 to share the marquee with the Irishman at 17 under. And after Elvira followed with a birdie of his own at the par-5 2nd hole, it was a three way tie at the top.
A birdie on No. 7 followed by a bogey on No. 9 saw Rahm turn in 2-under, and still deadlocked with Elvira and Dunne. A chip-in birdie, though, on the par-5 10th gave Rahm the solo-lead, which became two after a another birdie on the 13th. But Elvira joined his compatriot at 19 under after two-consecutive gains on Nos. 13 and 14.
After Rahm had teed off on No. 18, Elvira found the water on 17, resulting in a double bogey, and a two shot cushion for the Arizona State star. As word got around about Elvira’s misfortune, the walk up the par-5 18th at Centro Nacional de Golf turned into a coronation for the young Spanish superstar. Three shots later, concluding with a tap-in birdie, Rahm saluted the Madrid crowd, and celebrated his third European Tour victory.
The win was Rahm’s first as a professional on home soil after claiming seven national amateur titles.
“It’s such a satisfying feeling,” said Rahm. “When I made the decision to come straight from Augusta it wouldn’t be to just show up and walk around, I wanted to win this tournament.
“I’ve been blessed to be national champion from 16 to all ages in Spain. To round my amateur and pro career together in this way and win the last one I had to win and join that prestigious list of Spanish winners, it’s hard to explain how good it feels and how satisfying it is.
“It’s been amazing. It’s truly been the hardest Sunday I’ve ever had in any tournament that I’ve won because the crowd wanted it so much and I wanted it so much. You can tell how excited everybody is, I felt that tension, I felt that stress, I felt everything magnified. They payed a huge part, I came for them mainly so I’m just glad I can win this one for the Spanish people.”
Irishman Dunne, who had led wire to wire, made birdie on the final hole to post a 71 – his fourth-straight under-par round in Madrid – and reach 18 under, a shot clear of Elvira, and two ahead of South Africa’s George Coetzee.
Along with $250,000, the win earned Rahm 24 world ranking points to maintain his No. 4 position behind only Dustin Johnson (1), Justin Thomas (2), and Jordan Spieth (3).
FINAL TOP 10
1 Jon Rahm -20
2 Paul Dunne -18
3 Nacho Elvira -17
4 George Coetzee -16
5 Marc Warren -15
5 Jorge Campillo -15
5 Brett Rumford -15
5 Henric Sturehed -15
9 Julien Guerrier -14
9 Hideto Tanihara -14
9 Jacques Kruyswijk -14
ON SOCIAL MEDIA
— Thomas Bjorn (@thomasbjorngolf) April 15, 2018
— Sergio Garcia (@TheSergioGarcia) April 15, 2018
— Rafa Cabrera Bello (@RCabreraBello) April 15, 2018
Proud to hold the trophy of the #OpendeEspaña one of the most cherished wins in my career. @EuropeanTour @TaylorMadeGolf @adidasGolf @isagenix @MBUSA @BighornGolfClub #Rolex pic.twitter.com/8IgYGz5Zmn
— Jon Rahm Rodriguez (@JonRahmpga) April 15, 2018
RAHM: ROUND BY ROUND
Driving: 304.5 yards
Fairways: 58.9% (33/56)
Greens: 87.5% (63/72)
Par 3s: (+2) (1 Birdie, 12 Pars, 3 Bogeys)
Par 4s: (-9) (11 Birdies, 28 Pars, 0 Bogeys, 1 Double)
Par 5s: (-13) (2 Eagles, 9 Birdies, 3 Pars, 0 Bogeys)
Total: 2 Eagles, 21 Birdies, 45 Pars, 3 Bogeys, 1 Double
VIDEO: WINNING PUTT
Rahm taps in to win his national championship.
“I came for them mainly so I’m just glad I can win this one for the Spanish people.”
– Jon Rahm
Credit: Getty Images, European Tour Media